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tv   NBC Nightly News  NBC  May 29, 2014 5:30pm-6:01pm PDT

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5:00, "nightly news" is next. on our broadcast tonight, paper trail, tonight the fallout from our interview with edward snowden. did he alert his superiors to his concerns before pulling off the largest intelligence theft in american history? tonight the nsa has come out with a document. can he survive the drum beat now deafening over 100 members of congress, calling for the man in charge of the va to resign. high anxiety, 103 stories over chicago, thrill seekers out on a ledge and then suddenly the sound of cracks beneath their feet. and the graduates, tonight is the night, time for our solute to the class of 2014. "nightly news" begins now. >> announcer: from nbc news world headquarters in new york, this is "nbc nightly news" with brian williams.
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>> good evening. tonight the reaction is under way following the first american television interview with edward snowden, the 30-year-old american who continues to live in exile in russia, wanted for espionage, after a massive data theft and a massive leak of u.s. intelligence. snowden has now made it clear why he did what he did, but from the state, the president and others in the administration have asserted he should have gone through proper channels with his complaints about nsa practices. snowden says he did take his complaints to his superiors and says there is proof, and now the nsa has responded. our chief foreign affairs correspondent andrea mitchell, with us to start things off from our d.c. newsroom this evening, andrea, good evening. >> good evening, brian. almost a year after snowden first claimed he was a whistle-blower, today the nsa made public one e-mail between snowden and an nsa lawyer last year, but there is no evidence yet of the paper trail that snowden described.
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in moscow, brian asked edward snowed. why he helicopter' complained to his bosses about abuses. >> when the president and others have made the point that you should have gone through channels, become a whistle-blower and not pursued the route you did, what's your response? >> i actually did go through channels, and that is documented. the nsa has records. they have copies of e-mails right now to their office of general counsel, to their oversight and compliance folks. oversight and compliance folks. >> what did you report? was the response? >> and the response more or less, in bureaucratic language was, you should stop asking questions. >> reporter: now under pressure from the senate intelligence chair and seven days after nbc first asked about snowden's claim, the nsa released one e-mail snowden wrote to a lawyer a year ago april, only weeks before he stole classified documents and fled.
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in it he raised a technical legal question, offering his opinion about which laws take precedence over others. the nsa lawyer answered in part the nsa lawyer answered in part "you are correct," adding, "please give me a call if you would like to discuss further." in a written statement today, the nsa said, the e-mail did not raise allegations or concerns about wrongdoing or abuse, but posed a legal question that the office of general counsel address. "we have searched for additional indications of out reach from him in those areas and have not discovered engagements related to his claims." the white house continued to hammer away at snowden. >> there were and there are numerous avenues that mr. snowden could have used to raise other concerns or whistle-blower allegations. >> reporter: and john kerry tonight on the pbs news hour. >> he should do what many people who have taken issue with their own government do, which is challenge it, speak out, engage
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in an act of civil disobedience but obviously, accept the consequences of that active civil disobedience. not find refuge in authoritarian russia. >> reporter: u.s. officials are angry and embarrassed. vladimir putin's media is enjoying that, says nbc's richard engel in moscow. >> they keep using this as a way to say the american security service can't be that good. if they were so good at surveillance and policing the world, then why didn't they catch snowden? >> even administration officials acknowledge they can't be sure the nsa has released everything it has, but critics say if snowden wants to show he's a whistle-blower, he should have saved his own e-mails to prove it. brian? >> andrea mitchell starting us off from washington tonight. andrea, thanks. after last night's hour-long special, we kept the conversation going on the web and with our correspondents and experts here in the studio, we conducted an hour-long deconstruction on our website on nbcnews.com, including
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comments by snowden that did not air originally in the prime time broadcast. while both hours will now remain on our website, tonight we want to air another portion of the conversation for the first time. it's about the gathering of so much so-called meta data and why all this intelligence gathering, with all this intelligence gathering did our nation miss the last domestic terrorism attack. snowden says it started when the u.s. government exploded the meaning of 9/11. >> i take the threat of terrorism seriously, and i think we all do. and i think it's really disenginous for the government to invoke and sort of scandalize our memories to sort of exploit the national trama that we all suffered together and worked so hard to come through to justify programs that have never been shown to keep us safe, but cost
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us liberties and freedoms that we don't need to give up, and our constitution says we should not give up. >> but you can see how it happened. guys with box cutters spent 200 bucks using our own aviation system to take down our own buildings and smash into the pentagon in a field in pennsylvania, what are we going to do? it's a non-traditional enemy, the expression is an enemy we can't see. what are we going to do? >> you know, this is a key question that the 9/11 commission considered, and what they found in the post, when they looked at all of the classified intelligence from all of the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed to detect this plot. we actually had records of the phone calls from the united states and out. the cia knew who these guys were. the problem was not that we
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weren't collecting information. it wasn't that we didn't have enough dots. it wasn't that we didn't have a haystack. it was that we did not understand the haystack that we have. the problem with mass surveillance is that we're piling more hay on a haystack we already don't understand and this is the haystack of the human lives of every american citizen in our country. if these programs aren't keeping us safe and they are making us miss connections, vital connections, on information we already had, if we're taking resources away from traditional methods of investigation, from law enforcement operations that we know work, if we're missing things like the boston marathon bombings, where all of these mass surveillance systems, every domestic dragnet in the world did not reveal that the russian
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intelligence service told us about by name, is that really the best way to protect our country? or are we trying to throw money at a magic solution that's actually not just costing us our safety, but our rights and our way of life. >> our justice correspondent pete williams was among those here with us in the studio last night, and pete, what stood out to you from what we just heard? >> there is widespread agreement about his first point that the intelligence agencies missed critical clues about some of the 9/11 hijackers. it turned out the u.s. had the information but failed to recognize its significance. but few have argued that the u.s. suffered from too much intelligence in the runup to last year's boston marathon bombing. two reports, including one from congress, on the fbi's investigation of tamerlan and dzhokhar tsarnaev says anything, the fbi was
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hampered by not having enough information on information the russians did not share, in passing along concerns about the older brother tamerlan before the bombings. the call to change how the nsa does business is how it gathers data and from whom, not primarily on how much it vacuums up, brian? >> pete williams rounding out our coverage on the contentions being made by edward snowden, thanks. tonight the scandal that nfld the va explodes, now 100 members of congress are calling for the man in charge, a former four-star army general, to resign, as every passing day brings more news about problems with the va's troubled health care system. we get our report again this evening from nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: crisis management today, behind closed doors at the department of veterans affairs, embattled secretary eric shinseki met with representatives as 23 veterans and military groups, and promised he and the va can fix this mess.
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>> and that they take this very seriously. >> reporter: but now a political wildfire is spreading. more than 100 members of congress are calling on shinseki to resign, including at least 11 senate democrats, many facing re-election this november. today white house press secretary jay carney under repeated questioning would not say the president is confident that shinseki can remain. >> he believes there ought to be countability once we establish all the facts. >> reporter: va sources say that so far, nine staffers at four different medical centers have been put on administrative leave. a blistering inspector general's initial report finds systemic failures and multiple schemes that kept potentially thousands of veterans lost in the bureaucracy, and waiting for months for doctor visits. the ig probe is going national to include 42 va facilities. phoenix va whistle-blower, retired physician dr. sam foot, says the ig report is vindication.
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>> it's hard to feel happy about veterans not getting care, but it is nice to be believed, i'll say that. >> reporter: today on capitol hill, republican lawmakers surrounded by veterans also express caution that the va's problems nationwide are big and entrenched and go far beyond the fate of secretary shinseki. >> leadership is important at the top, but i'm telling you, there is a bureaucracy that doesn't care who leads. >> senior lawmakers say they are now prepared to take the unusual step of suing the va to try to get specific documents that might shed light on the coverup, and a top health administrator acknowledged the department may have lost its north star. brian? >> kelly o'donnell remains on this story for us tonight. kelly, thanks. tonight, nearly three months now since that malaysia airlines jet vanished without a trace, with 239 people on board, the australian government says it's now completed searching the initial search grid in the southern indian ocean and come up empty.
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now they're reexamining whether all those pings really did come from the black boxes while submerged. search commanders still think the plane is in the southern indian ocean. phase two of the search involves mapping and then searching a much larger area, 23,000 square miles of underwater terrain. that could take another year or longer. back in this country, the cdc said today measles cases continue to accelerate at least 288 cases reported this year alone. that's a 20-year high, and we're only five months into the year. the cdc says nearly all these cases have been linked to travelers who caught the virus while abroad and spread it to unvaccinated people in this country. still ahead for us on this thursday night, the shock of a lifetime. over a thousand feet up with only glass beneath their feet when suddenly, a shattering sound.
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it's one of the tallest
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buildings in the world, the willis tower, formerly sears tower in chicago and has something called the ledge. when it opened back in '09, it was a feat of engineering and a dare to thrill seekers who visit, but last night, something happened on that ledge more frightening than the usual experience. the report from katy tur in chicago. >> reporter: alejandro garibe was 103 stories up and four feet out in midair, when suddenly the one and a half inches of glass between him and the abyss below seemed to crack. >> you can hear the cracking. >> a million things went through my mind. first off is get off immediately. at a second, you feel like you're going to fall. >> reporter: garibe and his family were wednesday night's last visitors to venture out into the void in one of four glass boxes known as willis towers' the ledge.
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>> people were on it, jumping on it, we jumped on it 20 minutes before, taking pictures. >> reporter: engineers say the crack was only in the glass' protective coating and did not affect structural integrity. >> nobody was at risk on that. the structural glass is designed to hold 10,000 pounds. >> reporter: this afternoon workmen were replacing the coating on the ledge flooring but as they worked, some on tera firma were having second thoughts. so there is no way you'll get up there and get on that now? >> maybe in awhile, but. >> reporter: you would go up there, you'd lay face first and look down? >> absolutely. >> reporter: you would put your life in their hands? >> i would. i trust the engineers who did it. >> reporter: a fear to remember. >> i have goosebumps remembering it. >> reporter: the tale one family won't forget. katy tur, nbc news, chicago. back in a moment with the new health rules announced today that affect something millions of americans still do on a regular basis.
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gridlock. teacher layoffs. and a 60 billion dollar budget deficit. that's what john perez faced when he became speaker of the california assembly. so he partnered with governor brown to pass three balanced budgets, on time. for the first time in thirty years. today, the deficits are gone and we've invested an additional 2 billion dollars in education. now john perez is running for controller, to keep fighting for balanced budgets. democrat john perez for controller. the president today got into the subject of concussions in
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sports, a growing topic in youth football and soccer and especially in the nfl. the white house empaneled something called the sports summit and healthy kids summit. the president called for better research, data and protocols and says he, too, probably suffered minor concussions while playing youth football. he said "at the time, you don't think anything of it." something we are calling here the weight of the world. big new university of washington study published in the journal "lancet" says 2.1 billion people worldwide are either obese or just plain over weight. u.s. was the heaviest country home to 13% of all the obesity in the world followed by china, india, russia, and also alarming the fact that rates continue on the rise. a long-time effort by those in the health care field has paid off. now the fda announced stricter rules on tanning beds that are still used by millions of americans who now hopefully know the risks of ultraviolet radiation.
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because the risk of melanoma increases almost 60% from indoor tanning, future tanning designs will include timers, limits on uv levels and a warning that no one under 18 is to use them. firefighters who have been hard at work on a big wildfire in alaska came across some very vulnerable victims. they knew there was a wolf den in the area. they were checking in on it, planning to leave it alone when one of the pups came out and as a firefighter said later, "it looked like she was looking for help. they would have died if we didn't pull them out." the pups in the den were rescued and are being treated at a special unit at the alaska zoo. sadly, the parents have not been located. when we come back, our salute to this year's class, the class of 2014.
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finally tonight, what may be our favorite of all our annual traditions at "nightly news." we looked into our own archives today and discovered we have been at this, saluting college graduates this way for over 30 years, and to capture some of the best send-offs, our team deployed to campuses across this country.
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♪ >> you will change the world. i want you to take the craziest dream you ever had and i want you to go after it. i don't want you to dream, i want you to do. >> class of 2014 is adventurous. >> inspirational. >> brilliant. >> ambitious. >> ready to make change in the world. [ cheers and applause ] >> this orientation is better for you. the audience, you achieve big things not with one big step but
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with many small steps. >> i feel on top of the world tonight. >> i feel relieved. >> we made it. >> graduates, smile because i'm taking a selfie. ♪ >> smile. >> if you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day, and if by chance you a have a miserable day, you will come home to a made bed and that gives you encouragement tomorrow will be better. >> i'm ready to get out there and get started. ♪ >> i know all of you are so proud today, but i will tell you as a mother myself, your families are more proud. >> how proud can i be, i can't be any more prouder. >> i'm just so proud of myself
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and proud of my mom that we got to do it together. >> she's an amazing kid. she worked really hard for this. >> thanks, mom. >> so when this ceremony is over but you're still in that gown, let them hug you and let them hug you for a little bit longer. they will look back on today and say "that was one of the happiest days of my life." >> no matter what path you took to get here, you all kept your hearts set on this day. >> we came here from ethiopia trying to get an education. that's exactly what i did, and i am very proud of that. >> we came here as refugee and we build our lives and give our children the lives that they didn't have. this is a great moment we've been waiting for. >> i want to strive. >> my daughter does not know i'm coming today. i'm so proud of you. a 14 1/2 hour flight from kuwait to d.c., another three and a half hours to denver, turn around and fly back here, but
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when i saw her, it was all worth it. >> your life and your happiness will be way more defined by the quality of your relationships, not the quantity. it's about being there for people you care about and knowing they will be there for you. >> mom and dad, i love you so much. >> just thank you for everything. >> for giving me all of your love and support. >> today is for you. >> i am the class of 2014. >> we are the class of 2014. >> 2014! >> 2014! >> congratulations! [ cheers ] >> how about that? our thanks to producer michelle, video editor barry silverman and countless producers and camera crews on the campuses and our warmest congratulations to the graduates and parents of the class 2014.
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go get 'em. that our broadcast on a thursday night, thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. we of course, hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> our company, also very rare for a technology company, is majority women. >> holding tech companies accountable for who they hire. >> new at 6:00 tonight, diversity in silicon valley. it's a hot issue with lukewarm results. technology giant google is pulling back the curtain on its own diversity members. it turns out the company is overwhelmingly male.
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if you take a look at the work force, most of them, white. 30% asian. but look at the make-up of hispanics and blacks. the numbers are asking how to get more diversity in that work force. >> reporter: yeah, jessica. answers we go after talking to those in the tech industry who tell us the key to diversity comes both in the board room and on cam fus. by releasing its numbers, google started a conversation but also confirmed what tech watchers and political leaders, like jesse jackson, have already been talking about for a long time. >> i think the tech industry is very aware of the fact that there are very few women working in the industry. >> reporter: catarina fink has star

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